Gear drives are a key element in many manufacturing or operating systems. These large, heavy-duty machines are built to work day-in, day-out for many years. There comes a time, however, when even the most well-made Falk gear drive will break down. When this happens – and if you use active gear drives, it eventually will – you will be faced with an important decision: rebuild or replace?
Many manufacturers will tell you to replace any worn down power transmission equipment or Falk gearbox, but that isn’t always the smartest or most cost-effective option. There are many things to consider before making this kind of decision. The following are factors you should carefully consider when faced with the question of replacement versus gearbox repair.
The cost difference between gearbox repair and replacing the gear drive is the probably the biggest factor in the decision making process. You obviously want to get the most bang for your buck, so here are a few tips for determining the most cost-effective method:
Get a professional evaluation. A simple visual inspection of a broken gearbox doesn’t usually tell the whole story, and even the most skilled maintenance worker in your company probably can’t tell you everything that could be wrong with it. Only a trained technician should be trusted to do a complete, thorough inspection of the gear drives or power transmission equipment. With their professional knowledge, they should be able to suggest whether to repair or replace the unit.
Consider the downtime. Compare the cost of repairing the unit with the cost of waiting for a replacement. As you know, time is money, and even if Falk gearbox repair is more expensive than replacement, you may not want to wait for the new unit to show up.
Stick with what you know. If you have the choice between repairing your Falk gear drives to like-new condition or starting over from scratch with a new unit, your best bet would be to stick with what you know. It can take time and cost you a lot of money to train your staff to use a new machine. Plus, you probably have a warranty for the old unit already, which may cover part or all of the repair costs.
Adjustments for a new unit. Chances are you have a Falk gearbox that was made specifically for your operating needs. If you order a new unit, you may have to replace or modify existing parts that are working already, just so they are compatible with the new unit. Consider this extra expense before making any decisions.
Time is another important factor to consider. Not all gearboxes are created equal, and some may take much longer to replace than to repair. Think long and hard about the following before making any decisions.
Rebuild or build new. Repairing or rebuilding a broken Falk gearbox can take some time, true, but it usually takes much less time than building a completely new unit. This is especially true if you have a custom gear drive unit that was made specifically for your operating system.
Availability of parts. Turnaround time is essential in business, and availability of parts plays a big role in the time it takes to get your Falk gearbox up and running again. If you have a manufacturer’s standard model that isn’t obsolete, parts probably are readily available. If you have a custom-made unit, however, parts may be difficult or impossible to come by, in which case you will need to replace the unit entirely.
Time and money aren’t the only things you should consider when deciding whether to replace or have a gearbox repair done. Here are a few other important factors to keep in mind:
Some things should always be replaced. You may not need to replace a whole unit, but there are certain parts that should be regularly replaced. These include bearings, seals, shim gaskets and others. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule and periodically replace these parts even if the gear drive or power transmission equipment is still running smoothly.
Consider the age of the unit. You may love your custom-made Falk gear drive for its uniqueness and the many years it has served you well, but all good things must come to an end. There comes a time when every type of machinery must be retired, especially if it is obvious that you won’t be able to find compatible parts five or ten years from now.
So which is better – rebuilding or replacing? In most cases, broken Falk gearboxes can be easily restored to like-new conditions more quickly and cost-effectively than they can be replaced. In other cases, such as when dealing with an extremely old unit, it may be better to just start from scratch.